Sunday, September 4, 2016

3 BTS tips

Here are a couple of quick tips to help your Back to School prep. 

1. Label your packed boxes a the end of the year.
I list the items in each box on an index card and place in a snack size ziplock bag.  I tape the bag onto the box and also put an L for a light box and H for a heavy box. When I store my boxes, I know to put the "H" boxes on the bottom. I also label the boxes in the order I should open and set up my room. 1, 2, 3, ... This way, at the beginning of the year I know the boxes to open first. It makes setup quicker and more efficient. 

 2. Spray laminated class visuals with Matte spray.
I spray all classroom visuals with a matte spray from Krylon.  This reduces the shiny glare and allows students to see the visuals without fighting the glare. Check out the difference in the video below!


3. Place reinforcers in craft reclosable bags to limit size.
I place my reinforcers in these craft bags. They are 2" x 3".  It allows me to carry a variety of reinforcers without the bulkiness of a zip lock bag. :) 

Hope these BTS tips can help you start out on the right foot! Have a great year!

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Hey, teacher friends!! I'm in full BTS mode and one item on my to-do list was update my CHAMPS / Rules visuals. I incorporate the CHAMPS systemWhole Brain teaching, and some basic American Sign Langauge to teach to my kiddos. They remember every rule this way and when I need to remind them of a rule, I just do the hand motion and they know exactly what I need them to do. We take the first 2 weeks of school and look at a rule a day. We read a social story, complete an interactive notebook and everyone takes turns 'showing the rule.' I have the rules velcroed to the front of the room and the students have access to small 'rule cards' as well.

I do not switch the CHAMPS during different activities because it is too confusing for my students. These rules can apply to all work in my classroom.

C is for Conversation, as long as they are completing their work, they are more than likely conversing appropriately-which for my students' conversations are greatly encouraged.

H is for Help. I've applied Hands to Self here. My students sometimes have a difficult time keeping their hands to themselves.  Therefore, if their hands are 'doing what they're supposed to' then they can have the opportunity to ask for help appropriately and remain on task.

A is for Activity.  Everyone in my class can be doing a different activity at any moment.  Therefore as long as they are following their schedule or 'asking first' before going to a choice activity, then they are doing what they are supposed to and following the rules.

M is for movement. We spend a great deal of time talking about 'making smart choices.' This encourages my students to critically think 'should I be doing this?'

P is for participation.  I want my students to reciprocate conversation as well as be polite and respectful, therefore I placed "Please and Thank you" as a rule.

S is for supplies.  I made this 'Sit at your desk.' I have students who wander and roam most of the time, but as long as they sit at their desk to complete their work, they will have access to their supplies and appropriate equipment.

I hope this helps! Here's a little freebie if  you're interested in incorporating this into your classroom.

 What do you use for your class rules?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Restocking the Classroom

Happy 4th of July!! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and isn't spending too much time 'working' on teacher stuff. :) I'm sharing a strategy to restock my special education self contained classroom.  I do ask parents to send in some supplies, but typically I get a few items and it rarely lasts to the holidays.  Therefore, game plan "restock during the summer" has significantly helped the past 2 years! 

My school supply list

Here's how I restock:

Over the summer I purchase items that aren't typically tax free (velcro, laminate, ziplock bags, and clorox wipes).  I typically shop once a week, so I rotate these items over 12 weeks: 
  • week 1, 5, 9: Velcro
  • week 2, 6, 10: laminate
  • week 3, 7, 11: zip lock bags & Tissues
  • week 4, 8, 12: Clorox wipes

Then during tax free weekend, I restock any items that I could get tax free, such as: sticky notes, highlighters, staples, tape, pens, pencils, glue sticks, etc. The week before school starts I also restock on any positive reinforcement I can use with the students (sodas, juice, candy, crackers, etc.) I typically find out what students like by observations and having the students and the parents complete my surveys at the beginning of the year. 
Parent surveys
Student Reinforcement Survey

How do you obtain supplies for your classroom?? Do you restock your supplies with help of parents? PTA? School district?

Have a great summer and I hope this will help you for the 16-17 school year.